The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) with support from the Friendrich-Ebert Stiftung (FES), a non-governmental organisation, has organised a workshop to raise awareness o the impact of climate change on cocoa production.
The climate change and cocoa production workshop also appraised the strategic responses, adopt and mitigate strategies and research efforts in response to climate change impact on cocoa and develop perspectives for mobilizing and harnessing efforts for appropriate policy and programme development implementation through the trade unions.
Mr Ebenezer Tei Quartey, Director at the Research Department of COCOBOD, said about fifteen countries produce cocoa with Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia considered as the largest producers.
Mr Quartey said cocoa production is highly sensitive to changes in weather conditions and that weather events reduced cocoa production on average, by 2.4% at world level in the 2009/2010 cocoa season.
He said COCOBOD was then established in 1947 as the statutory public institution mandated to regulate the cocoa industry in Ghana.
Mr Quartey said Gold Coast became the world’s leading producer of cocoa, producing about 50% of the world’s output by 1936 adding that Ghana remained the world’s leading producer of cocoa until the late 1970s when she was overtaken by Cote d’Ivoire.
“Ghana currently produces an average of 700,000 tonnes of cocoa annually with a record 1 million tonnes recorded in the 2010/11 cocoa season. This is about 20% of the world’s output and is the second leading producer of cocoa beans after Cote d’ Ivoire,” he added.
Mr Quartey noted that about 20% of Ghana’s cocoa is processed locally into semi-finished products such as cocoa liquor, cake, and butter stressing that it is government’s policy to process about 60% of cocoa locally.
He said the COCOBOD has put measures in place to mitigate the effects of climate change which include rehabilitation and replanting of old, destroyed and abandoned farms, supply of hybrid planting materials, supply of subsidized fertilizer and pest control programmes for cocoa diseases.
Mr Anthony Fofie, Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, said climate change is characterized by global warming, increased frequency and intensity of floods and droughts which negatively impact on livelihoods especially in agriculture.
Mr Fofie said cocoa is central to agriculture and the live-wire of Ghana’s economy and that it behooves on all to understand and appreciate the effects of climate change on cocoa production and take measures to mitigate it.